I love the Eurovision Song Contest and I have always enjoyed its over-the-top, outlandish, cheesiness! This year it was broadcast to America too, meaning my stateside friends were finally able to tune in and appreciate - or recoil in horror at - the complete and utter madness that unfolds every year as musicians and singers from all over Europe (and for last two years, Australia - don't ask) compete to win.
During the contest this year, several of my friends were hosting Eurovision parties that involved eating different European foods (mainly various cheeses...), taking part in sweepstakes, donning flag face paint and generally just enjoying watching the show together.
Some even held their own Eurovision's by hosting karaoke parties using video games like Rock Band, Singstar and various iterations of these.
|This group definitely wouldn't look out of place at Eurovision|
Much like the sad, lonely, forgotten about Wii Balance Board and that copy of Wii Fit that we've all either sold, given away or hidden away in our attics, musical games just aren't as used as they once were.
|Rock Band 4: Rock Bandier than the last 3...4...5...or however many games there were.|
|Not as good as Cow Bell Hero, but a classic nonetheless!|
Admittedly, the game was a true love letter to the band and included lots of cool visuals and extra audio content which fans like myself very much appreciated, that and the cool replica Harrison and McCartney guitars were a nice touch.
Though, there is only so long before playing the guitar solo to 'While My Guitar Gently Weeps' over and over gets tedious and what was once your favourite song and perhaps the greatest George Harrison song ever, will eventually transform, leaving you with painful memories of cramped hands, aching wrists and all the rage because you missed just ONE note on Expert setting.
|Seriously, the visuals and 'music videos' in this game were absolutely gorgeous!|
It might be the over-saturation that killed the market for music based games. At one point, the Guitar Hero franchise released 10 separate variations of their game in just 5 years. Talk about maximising on short-term profits! And there's DJ Hero, Band Hero, every Rock Band released to date including all their sequels, one-offs and even a Lego Rockband.
|We heard you like plastic instruments so we bought you ALL the games...|
Before all of this, three years before Guitar Hero hit the scene in 2006, Nintendo gave us Donkey Konga and even earlier than that Sony gave us PaRappa The Rapper. And remember when Dance Dance Revolution hit consoles? I owned one of those cheaply made plastic dance mats and oh how I danced...or jumped around ungraciously on it.
|Kick, Punch, Turn and Chop The Door!|
Rock Band 3 introduced a Pro mode which mean if you bought a very specific Fender Stratocaster guitar you could actually learn to play it for real. Though, good luck finding another friend who could also afford to join you. Then there was Rocksmith, which was more of a serious, tutorial based game and as we all know, tutorials are the absolute worst parts of any game.
|Rocksmith: the Educational Rock Band|
So, while plastic instruments are gathering dust, games like SingStar and Dance Central have grown in popularity because dancing and singing are more accessible, or they seem that way at least. SingStar...or 'Glorified Karaoke with a Limited Playlist' as I prefer to call it, lends itself to any genre, except instrumental or classical - but don't worry, Nintendo's got you covered if that's your jam - with Wii Music. What's that I hear you say? You've never heard of it? Well that might be because it sold less than 81,000 units during its first month of release.
|DJ Ravi Drums 'performing' at Nintendos E3 press conference in 2008|
I wonder if a special Eurovision SingStar edition was released, if I might just be stupid enough to spend some of that hard earned money of mine on it.
(Oh no, I just google searched, 'Eurovision SingStar' - it turns out, they have actually released previous years Eurovision songs as DLC...goodbye, hard earned money).